Kelowna resident Sally Wallick helped rescue a kayaker in distress a week and a half ago. (Sally Wallick/Contributed)

VIDEO: Kelowna woman rescues capsized kayaker in Okanagan Lake

Sally Wallick is asking people to be prepared for the cold water and unpredictable winds

A Kelowna surfskier is warning people to be careful after she managed to rescue a kayaker on Okanagan Lake.

Sally Wallick, a competitive swimmer and surfskier, said she was out for a paddle on the lake a week and a half ago.

The day started out beautiful and the water was flat. It was perfect for kayaking.

“It was super sunny, clear skies. Then the wind turned very fast,” she said.

Being a strong swimmer, Wallick felt confident enough to be out despite the wind and rough water. She continued to surfski and from time to time, noticed something far out in the water.

“I was actually ready to turn back but I kept seeing something in the water. It was really hard to see with the waves, and it didn’t even dawn on me that it would be a person.

“I was just curious what it was, so I paddled out. Even 50 metres out, I couldn’t tell what it was but I kept paddling towards it and realized it was a guy and his kayak was capsized,” Wallick said.

Wallick said when she got to the kayaker, it seemed he had been in the water for quite a while.

“He looked like he was past the point of panic, which was concerning. His lips were purple and he seemed disoriented,” she said.

“I was just trying to stay calm and talk to him and give him clear instructions.”

Wallick tried to get the man aboard her surfski but he had a hard time getting out of the water, so she had him cling to the front of her kayak, then told him to kick in the water to keep warm. At one point, Wallick said he started closing his eyes and she knew he was close to losing consciousness.

She spotted a pontoon boat and began yelling for help.

“They came over to us and I told them to call 911. They pulled him out of the water and stayed with me until I got back on my boat.”

Wallick said she wants people to understand that the lake can be dangerous. One minute it can be calm and flat but the next it could be windy and full of whitecaps.

“The water is still cold during this time of the year, and winds are incredibly unpredictable and the water can change in five to ten minutes,” she said.

“Be prepared because the water changes fast. Have a cellphone, wear a lifejacket, and let people know where you’re going.”

She said if you’re able, go out on the water with someone else. If that’s not possible, always let others on the shore know what you’re up to.

The last thing Wallick wants to say is keeping yourself safe keeps others safe.

“Once you put yourself in danger, you’re putting other people in danger as well. A rescue in the middle of the lake is not easy and especially if other people out there don’t know the steps to take,” she said.

“Luckily I knew enough, but I’m sure I could have done a few things differently as well.”

The man Wallick helped got in touch with her recently, and she said he didn’t sustain injuries and is doing well.

READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP reviewing rough arrest after video shared on social media


@twilamam
twila.amato@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

The Binche Fishing Derby at Stuart Lake is fast approaching. (Binche Fishing Derby Facebook photo)
Binche shares excitement for upcoming fishing derby

“It’s more than just fishing,” says Dave Birdi

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read